Life away from patrol has been good to Beaufort Police Sgt. Tracy Brandenburg.
About a month ago, Brandenburg, 36, was taken off the street and made the department's training sergeant, and last week she was named the Exchange Club of Beaufort's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
"I was extremely shocked," Brandenburg said of the award. "I'm just doing my job. I love my job, and to be recognized for that is really incredible."
Brandenburg joined the city's police force about six years ago after four years with the Troy (Ohio) Police Department.
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As the department's training sergeant, Brandenburg is responsible for the in-house training city police officers must undergo each year. She also oversees the department's Alive at 25 program, which teaches teenagers better driving habits, and founded the department's Rape Aggression Training program, a self-defense course for women.
Though her workload keeps her busy, Brandenburg said she wouldn't want it any other way.
"These are obviously things I'm passionate about," Brandenburg said. "With the department training, you're making sure that officers have what they need to do their jobs. With the Alive at 25 program, you're teaching these young drivers about the behaviors that are killing them on a daily basis, and with the (Rape Aggression Training program), you're giving women the mental awareness they need to have to avoid being a victim."
Brandenburg was nominated for the Exchange Club award by Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy, who said the Ohio native was an invaluable member of the city's police force and a no-brainer for the honor.
"Sgt. Brandenburg is a vital member of our department and through her actions sets an example for others to follow," Clancy said. "I felt she was deserving not only for doing all of these services but maintaining her excellent performance as a team supervisor at the same time."
Clancy's recommendation and Brandenburg's service record made her a natural fit for the award, said Leigh Copeland, president of the Exchange Club of Beaufort.
"Sgt. Brandenburg's work with the Beaufort Police Department has truly made a difference in our community," Copeland said. "She is not only helping keep our community safe, but she is helping improve the lives of so many of our citizens through her efforts in youth driving education and rape aggression training. Although there were many outstanding candidates for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, her dedication and leadership truly deserve to be recognized."